BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - All over the country, kids and their parents are setting alarm clocks and packing up for a new school year. For Kennedy Passantino and her mom, Pam, that also means getting back into a well-organized routine.
“Having to juggle school work, work, and normal life,” said Pam.
Kennedy is starting her senior year at St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge, but every morning, she must commute more than 30 minutes to school. That means there’s no time to waste in the morning.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is getting everyone out the door in the morning, especially if you have young children,” explained professional organizer, Martha Carol Stewart.
Stewart is a former teacher and now helps people organize and streamline their lives through her company, Chaos Organizing, and its website.
Stewart says her goal is to help people make their homes and routines more efficient so they can spend more time enjoying family. When it comes time to head back to school, she says the best tool parents can have is a good evening routine.
That means taking time each night to get ready for the day ahead, and make sure your kids share those responsibilities. For example, you can prepare lunches at night and have your child help by picking out pre-approved snacks.
Another tip from Stewart is to lay out your child’s outfits for the next day. Stewart uses a hanging organizer with five shelves to store a full outfit for each day of the week. That way, even younger children can dress themselves in the morning, giving parents more time to make breakfast and go through their own routine.
One of Stewart’s most important tips for families is to set up a control center in your home. This is an area equipped with files for all your student’s papers, a family calendar for everyone’s activities and events, and supplies for homework. Stewart says labeling each box and file makes it easy to know where things are and where they should go. It also teaches kids how to stay organized and take responsibility for their school things. Stewart says her family also uses this as the area where backpacks, purses, and even keys are kept.
“Our goal is always to have a home for everything, because if everything has a place and everything has a home, even if your house gets messy, and it will, it’s easy to clean up,” said Stewart.
It's a system the Passantinos say makes a huge difference.
"Having everything taken care of the night before school or whatever it makes it much easier," said Pam.
Find more tips to organize your chaos through Stewart’s blog.